Freight congestion in the world’s largest port

Ships abandon Chinese ports to avoid Corona restrictions

Delays caused by COVID-19 testing at the nearby port of Ningbo in China are forcing ships to change course and head directly to Shanghai, causing increasing congestion at the world’s largest container port.

Shipping companies suspended some trucking services near the port after the outbreak of Covid-19, while Bloomberg’s shipping data showed that ships were also rerouting to Xiamen in the south.

In Shenzhen, the country’s technology hub in the south, screening residents and truck drivers to contain the outbreak means a queue of ships will form at the port. The terminal operator stated that this caused the Shekou terminal start-up to restrict cargo acceptance, meaning that from Friday full containers could only be moved within three days before the ships arrived.

Meanwhile, the northern Chinese city of Tianjin has ordered workers to take a half-day break to get tested for COVID as officials try to contain the spread of the omicron mutant. Trucking capacity is estimated at half normal levels, and drivers are required to be checked daily before entering port, according to Alex Hersham, CEO of digital shipping company Zencargo.

Shipping agents indicated that the influx of ships to Shanghai delayed the sailing times of container ships there by about a week. They said that these delays could extend abroad, reaching already crowded ports in the United States and Europe. Ships will likely start skipping Chinese ports soon due to a lack of options, according to Hersham of shipping company Zencargo.

“The issue of port congestion will continue to impact re-stocking cycles throughout this quarter, along with the outbreak of the Omicron wave and the impending new public shutdown in China,” said Josh Brasil, Vice President of Supply Chain Insights at Logistics Information Corporation 44 project.

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